Archive for the ‘Algeria’ Category

The Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO, in French) is an AQIM splinter group that publicly appeared in December 2011, when they claimed the kidnapping of three European aid workers in Tindouf, Algeria. Led by the Mauritanian Hamada Ould Kheiru*, an explosives expert, preacher, and longtime GSPC/AQIM member close to Belmokhtar, the […]

When longtime Algerian jihadist and recently-removed AQIM commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar announced in December the creation of a new combat unit, al-Mouwakoune Bi-Dima (“Those Who Sign with Blood”), much of the media coverage focused on what Belmokhtar said about the new group’s role. As part of Belmokhtar’s Katibat al-Moulathimin, the new group would, in his words, attack […]

The man allegedly behind the gas facility attack, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, had, until recently, run AQIM’s Katibat al-Moulathimin (“The Veiled Brigade”), a reference to the practice of male veiling common in parts of the Sahel.  In October 2012 AQIM stated that Belmokhtar had been “suspended” from the command of the group, owing to Belmokhtar’s supposed deviations […]

Attacking Oil Installations

Posted: 18th January 2013 by Will McCants in Algeria, AQIM

To give some ideological context for the jihadi hostage-taking at the Algerian gas facility, readers might be interested in two jihadi documents on the permissibility and advisability of attacking oil installations. Such attacks are not universally popular in jihadi circles–even Bin Laden vacillated on this point–because they harm the local economy, which alienates the Muslim public. […]

What’s AQIM’s Strategy?

Posted: 20th July 2011 by Will McCants in Algeria, AQIM, North Africa, Strategy

“What is the brothers’ plan in the Islamic Magreb?”  That’s the question raised today by Shmukh member Abu Safiyya.  He thinks it’s perfectly legitimate to kill troops but it’s getting Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) nowhere.  AQIM should be going after the leadership of the militaries in the region. Some readers are sympathetic but […]

New AQIM Reports

Posted: 12th June 2010 by Thomas Hegghammer in Algeria, AQIM, North Africa

Two of the world’s foremost experts on al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb have published new reports on the group. Al-Hayat journalist Camille Tawil has written a report for Jamestown, and Sciences-Po professor (and Jihadica alumnus) Jean-Pierre Filiu has written another report for Carnegie. Needless to say they are both excellent and worth anyone’s time.

Will AQIM Aim North or South?

Posted: 30th September 2009 by Jean-Pierre Filiu in Algeria, AQIM, France, Uncategorized

It appears that this year’s Ramadan was one of the least violent in the nearly two decades of jihadi activism in Algeria. While this period is hailed by militants and their leaders as the most propitious one for jihadi attacks, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was not able to wage a major operation. The […]

New AQIM abduction cases

Posted: 24th February 2009 by Hanna Rogan in Algeria

In mid-December 2008, UN special envoy to Niger, Robert Fowler, and his aide, Louis Guay, mysteriously disappeared while on a field trip. The fate of the two Canadians long remained shrouded in uncertainty. A Nigerian Tuareg rebel group first claimed responsibility for their abduction, but this claim was quickly retracted. In early February Canadian authorities […]

Pathetic Psy-ops

Posted: 5th February 2009 by Thomas Hegghammer in Algeria, AQ in Iraq, Conspiracy Theories, propaganda, Saudi Arabia, Western media

The British tabloid The Sun reported yesterday that al-Qaeda leaders rape male recruits to shame them into becoming suicide bombers. Let me start by congratulating the journalist on being able to fit the four words “al-Qaida”, “gay”, “rape” and “horror” in one and the same headline in the world’s largest English-language newspaper. I would not […]

AQIM, the Plague and the Press

Posted: 23rd January 2009 by Hanna Rogan in Algeria, propaganda, WMD

There is an incredible story coming out of Algeria these days. International and Algerian media have reported that 40 members of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) were killed by the plague (black death) at a training camp in Tizi Ozou, eastern Algeria earlier this month (see also here). According to intelligence officials, the outbreak […]